Shipping the car that you've purchased off of Auto Trader doesn't have to be a complicated process, but there are some things that you should be aware of.
First off, you have to be aware of the fact that Auto Trader does not ship cars themselves. Many common scams will inform the buyer that their vehicle is being stored in an AutoTrader.com warehouse and that they will also be the ones shipping the vehicle. Considering that AutoTrader.com does not even own a warehouse, any mention of this indicates that it is 100% a scam.
Instead, any arrangement that is made in regards to shipping your newly-purchased car is an arrangement that must be made between you and the seller.
Don't Ship Your Car If the Seller...
- States that AutoTrader.com needs specific financial information or personal details about you
- States that AutoTrader.com has pre-approved the shipping transaction
- Asks you to wire them money in order to ship the vehicle
*AutoTrader.com does not ask for credit card information from the buyer.
While a seller may recommend a few different shipping companies for you to choose from, or even one specific company that they normally use, it's better if you do your own research on choosing a shipping company. You want to make sure that you're not only obtaining a fair shipping rate, but that the company is legitimate, trustworthy, and has a positive reputation
If the vehicle that you purchased is located across the country or in a different state, you do have the option of flying there and then driving it back to your destination yourself. If you're trading in a vehicle, you could also drive your trade-in there and then drive back with your new vehicle. However, the most cost-effective method is to have it shipped to you. There are numerous ads available on AutoTrader.com for shipping companies, but you should also do your own independent research online, such as through Google.
Choosing the Right Shipping Method for Your Vehicle.
After you do a thorough search for a shipping company and find a few that interest you, you should make sure that they're legitimate. One of the best sites available for checking out a company's reputation is the Better Business Bureau, which is located at www.bbb.org.
Make sure that you obtain their Motor Carrier #, as it is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that all shipping companies have one. You can find out more information at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
The two main shipping methods that are recommended, depending on your specific needs, are:
Open Car Transport.
As the cheapest out of the two methods, this one is recommended if the distance isn't too great or if the car isn't highly valuable. Since your vehicle will be placed on an open-air trailer, it'll be more susceptible to damage from the elements. If you purchase either a vintage or luxury vehicle, than this method is not recommended.
Enclosed Car Transport.
A bit more expensive, your car will be placed in an enclosed trailer, which means it'll be better protected, more secure, and won't be at the risk of damage. Make sure to specify that you want a trailer that has been designed to limit the amount of shock that your car will be subjected to during the drive. If you purchase a new car off of AutoTrader.com, than this would be a method that you should seriously consider.
Since you're the one who purchased the vehicle, make sure that it's YOU who dictates the shipping terms to the seller, rather than the other way around. You're the one who is paying for the cost, so you should also decide on who delivers it.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.